Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: freedom

Is It Time to End the Drug War?

Drug Use for Grown-Ups by Dr. Carl L. Hart has opened up a whole other world to me. It’s answered some questions, generated new ones, and instigated me to revisit how I how I look at drug use. Unlike the author, I’ve never personally used any illegal drug. Yes. I know. Crazy. I never even smoked any pot before it was legal in California. I have now, but not much. I just didn’t like it, and I’m not interested in spending the time to experiment with dosages and types.

My drug of choice is alcohol, specifically good whiskey and tequila. They lift my spirits and put me in a better mood to socialize. There are times when I’ve drank too much, and I’ve had to sleep it off. I am not an addict, even though I do want that high more often than I drink because I’m a reasonably responsible person.

Since my drug is legal and regulated, I’m not worried about the people or place I buy it being associated with other criminal activity. I also don’t worry that what I’m drinking may contain a poison that I’m not aware of or may be enhanced with something my body isn’t ready for. And I have recourse if something does go wrong from my imbibing. No one will arrest me when I go to the emergency room if I’m sick, and I could sue the company that made it if they did something to harm me.

Unlike other drugs.

The question I’ve always had has been, “Why would someone use heroin? What’s the practical use?” Dr. Carl L. Hart has answered that question; because it relieves pain, makes people feel better, it’s fun, it expands consciousness, etc. And that goes for all the other drugs we have banned.

Studies are showing that almost all the negatives of drug use are due to the fact that the substance is illegal. People are not educated as to the safe use of the drug, they can’t be sure of the purity or amount of what they are taking, and they aren’t aware of the effects that will occur when they stop taking the drug.

Everything we do to stop people from making, selling, and using the drugs only creates more problems.

After all we learned from the prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century, why do we think banning certain drugs will stop people from taking them? And why do we think it’s any of our business what another person wants to do with their body?

If you think I’m one of those crazy people that advocates for the legalization of all drugs, you’re right. I have been on the track for many years, because government has no place in determining what is good and bad for you.

Like Dr. Hart says, “The point is that whether I use a drug or not is my decision; it is not the government’s decision. Further, my responsible drug use should not be subjected to punishment by authorities. These ideas are central to our notions of liberty and personal freedom. The current punitive approach to dealing with recreational drug users is wholly un-American.”

My issue has always been the negatives of drug use, the physical problems that can occur, safety, and the like. After reading this, I’m angry. The government and the media has lied to us (as they are want to do) and created a mountain out of a molehill, “for our safety” of course.

Please read this book, listen to some of Dr. Hart’s talks, or read his articles. The war on drugs has got to end. It’s claimed enough lives.

You Gotta Fight for Your Right…

Yeah, I hear the Beastie Boys every time I hear “fight for your right.” 8o’s kid. What can I say?!

Short (and a tad rough) post today because, once again, it is my “calling day” and I have things to do and people to see OUTSIDE my house!

Yoga, skipped. Meditation, shortened. Journal, I’ll do it later. Breakfast, rushed. THAT’S how much I want to share this thought with you. In the past, I’ve tried to keep my posts neutral. There is little that I am so sure of that I’ll go to war to force you to do what I think is best.

But I will fight (and by “fight,” I mean use my words and my money) for my right to be left alone, so that you also have that right.

fight for your right

“Lewis asked that volunteers sign up for twelve months’ service and ‘thus prove themselves worthy of their fathers of ’76 whose bequest, purchased with their blood, are those rights we now enjoy and so justly prize; let us then defend and preserve them, regardless of what it may cost, that they may pass unimpaired to the next generation who are to succeed us.’”

I read this line from Undaunted Courage and teared up a bit. Sentimental, maybe. Possibly a little nationalist, but…dammit it hit home this morning.

Our nation was not founded on perfect principles, but it was a start. Every step toward independence and freedom for all is better than going backwards.

When we give away our rights in the name of safety, we give away our children’s, and our grandchildren’s, rights away as well.

When we allow the use of force on one person, we allow it on ourselves.

When we give power to one entity, we give it to all, and they will use it against us in the future.

I’ve run out of time this morning and I have so much to say, with little know-how to say it, and with a lot of fear of expressing it, which pisses me off even more.

I’ll leave it here today. We all need to stop and think before we authorize and back-up the use of force on others, inside AND outside our nation, state, town, or business. “Do unto others as you would have done to you.”

Want to read more posts inspired by this book? Click back to my first post, “Undaunted Courage: New Read.

The School System is Oppressive for a Reason

School system feels oppressive quote from book and book cover on desert background.

“Marianne’s classmates all seem to like school so much and find it normal. To dress in the same uniform every day, to comply at all times with arbitrary rules, to be scrutinized and monitored for misbehavior, this is normal to them. They have no sense of the school as an oppressive environment.”

Normal People by Sally Rooney

The school system we have is not the best way to create a responsible and independent population.

Speaking out against the public school system is unpopular, I know. I usually get even fewer likes when I speak my mind here. But hear me out, please. What we are currently doing (and have been for nearly 100 years) isn’t working. That old cliché definition of insanity comes to mind.

I pulled this quote out because it reminded me of my own experience in high school and my feeling when I talk to parents that send their kids to school. In fact, it reminds me of how I feel when I talk to kids in high school, or that have just left it.

I was good at the system. I was able to work my way through public school in the 80’s and get good grades, make some friends, and start university. But I felt like I as living a lie, walking among zombies that didn’t realize there was a world outside what we were being forced to live until we were 18 or completed so many credits. Why was I different?

I don’t believe controlling other people from birth to death is the way we create order out of chaos. I’ve heard time and time again, if you don’t teach a child that you are bigger and stronger than them, the authority in all things, while they are small and fragile, they’ll walk all over you when they get into their teens and are bigger than you, capable of walking away from your control. It sounds so perverse.

It’s the same with schools today. I’ve heard parents tell me that you need to put your children in daycare early so that they learn to fit in to the system once they get to school age. Children that have not been corralled from early age have a harder time settling into the mold of school days.

A young person, fresh out of high school at 18 years old, scoffed at the fact that my son (her boyfriend) must have been too lazy to finish high school. He didn’t get the same education as she did and would probably never fully understand the system of merely making good grades and completing checklists instead of engaging in and learning from the material and teachers he came across at college. He was 16 and taking the same classes as her, helping her with her math assignments and holding a job.

When people see us, our children, and our lifestyle, some say, “Sure, that’s fine for you but other people need the control of an authority.” Do they? Or have they been trained from birth to believe that they do?

Some people have met us and have told me, “Wow. Your sons are so happy and intelligent. They seem like full-fledged people, not teenagers.” Their next comment is usually that we must have had a strong hand on them, kept them out of trouble, restricted them from video games and cellphones. It was the opposite. They have grown up being respected as individuals, with their own needs and wants, the ultimate authority of themselves, even when we thought they were crazy. We worked together to make living together comfortable. They grew up treating us the same way.

It wasn’t easy. Every decision, every change, every stage of life has to be thought about and evaluated to some degree. Negotiation so that everyone’s needs are met is impossible sometimes. And sometimes we failed miserably. We were learning too, not just the kids. Ultimately, now that the youngest is leaving home, I think it worked out well overall, more positive than negative.

The quote above, Marianne’s feeling about the school environment she is in, it’s legitimate. Raising large groups of people in controlled environments where they have no choice but to attend and obey is oppressive. It brainwashes people into believing that they are not capable of living outside a set of parameters set by someone else.

And that, my friends, is bullshit. We can all live exactly as we please. That doesn’t mean I have to live next to you or with you and agree with you, but it does mean you have the right and the ability to make your own choices, ones that serve you and your needs alone.

Stop raising humans as herd animals and start treating them as independent sentient beings from the moment they are born and we’ll begin to see civilization flourish in ways you can’t imagine.


If you’d like to go back and read my thoughts on this book from the beginning, start at my post New Read: Normal People.

You can find “Normal People” by Sally Rooney on Amazon.

My monthly newsletter highlights my immediate after-thoughts about the books I read the previous month. You can sign up for that awesome email at the link on the right or by hopping over to my Autobibliography page. Once you opt-in, you’ll receive one email a month only available to my email followers…mmm…so exclusive!

Freedom

A friend sent me a book he thought I’d like. That alone makes my heart happy. Since “It” was starting to give me nightmares that I just don’t need right now, I decided to put it aside awhile and read this instead.

This afternoon, I put my work aside and sat down with a cup of coffee to read for an hour. There are so many things I could spend my time on, but I just can’t seem to get my butt in gear, as my Mom used to tell me when I was a kid.

This piece touched my soul. It gets to the bottom of how I feel. I shouldn’t feel this way about my fellow humans, but sometimes I can’t help it.

The difference between her and the rabbits is that she wanted to be free.

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From “In The Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez

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